What It Is Really Like to Be a Friend of Someone with Lupus
Patients are affected by lupus in a number of different ways and often requires change to their lifestyle. An often overlooked facet of chronic diseases is the struggle of the caregivers, family and friends who remain by their side.
However, not everyone has the necessary patience or disposition to lend care to a loved one, especially if the one providing assistance has a job or other obligations during the day. This is what happened to Johnni Congleton 5 years ago when she received her lupus diagnosis and, consequently, had most of her friends walk out on her because they couldn’t cope with how sick she was. Luckily, there are still people in the world willing to provide selfless care and aid to those in need, and this couldn’t be more apparent to Congleton on the day she first met Joshua Burrows.
The two met at a Bible study class held at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and as soon as Burrows found out that Congleton was suffering from lupus, he immediately jumped in and offered his unfaltering support for the years to come.
“Whatever you need, I’m here,” is what the Florida man said after embracing Johnni for the first time, a phrase that, as time has proven, wasn’t exaggerated just to earn favor with her. Through the years, Burrows has offered financial as well as emotional support to Congleton, especially during the times she had chemotherapy treatments which had caused her to lose her hair.
For the duration of the 3 years of chemo, Joshua shaved his head. The impact that Joshua has had on Johnni’s life has been immense, though he constantly downplays his role by stating that, while he has a choice to provide aid, help financially, shave his head, etc. Johnni never had one when it came to lupus. The gestures that Joshua performs are simply to demonstrate that she doesn’t have to be alone, that where others walk out, there are still good people willing to stick around and provide aid.